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The danger of a single story
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
Stats that reshape your worldview
You've never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called "developing world."
New insights on poverty
Researcher Hans Rosling uses his cool data tools to show how countries are pulling themselves out of poverty. He demos Dollar Street, comparing households of varying income levels worldwide. Then he does something really amazing.
How I harnessed the wind
At age 14, in poverty and famine, a Malawian boy built a windmill to power his family's home. Now at 22, William Kamkwamba, who speaks at TED, here, for the second time, shares in his own words the moving tale of invention that changed his life.
How I named, shamed and jailed
Journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas has broken dozens of stories of corruption and organized crime all over Ghana -- without ever revealing his identity. In this talk (in which his face remains hidden) Anas shows grisly footage from some of his investigations and demonstrates the importance of facing injustice.
New facts and stunning data visuals
Hans Rosling unveils new data visuals that untangle the complex risk factors of one of the world's deadliest (and most misunderstood) diseases: HIV. He argues that preventing transmissions -- not drug treatments -- is the key to ending the epidemic.
What separates us from chimpanzees?
Jane Goodall hasn't found the missing link, but she's come closer than nearly anyone else. The primatologist says the only real difference between humans and chimps is our sophisticated language. She urges us to start using it to change the world.
What I learned from Nelson Mandela
"In the cathedral of the wild, we get to see the best parts of ourselves reflected back to us." Boyd Varty, a wildlife activist, shares stories of animals, humans and their interrelatedness, or "ubuntu" -- defined as, "I am, because of you." And he dedicates the talk to South African leader Nelson Mandela, the human embodiment of that same great-hearted,
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Spencer Wells builds a family tree for humanity
All humans share some common bits of DNA, passed down to us from our African ancestors. Geneticist Spencer Wells talks about how his Genographic Project will use this shared DNA to figure out how we are -- in all our diversity -- truly connected.
The good news of the decade?
Hans Rosling reframes 10 years of UN data with his spectacular visuals, lighting up an astonishing -- mostly unreported -- piece of front-page-worthy good news: We're winning the war against child mortality. Along the way, he debunks one flawed approach to stats that blots out such vital stories.
You don't need an app for that
Are the simplest phones the smartest? While the rest of the world is updating statuses and playing games on smartphones, Africa is developing useful SMS-based solutions to everyday needs, says journalist Toby Shapshak. In this eye-opening talk, Shapshak explores the frontiers of mobile invention in Africa as he asks us to reconsider our preconceived notions of
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A girl who demanded school
Kakenya Ntaiya made a deal with her father: She would undergo the traditional Maasai rite of passage of female circumcision if he would let her go to high school. Ntaiya tells the fearless story of continuing on to college, and of working with her village elders to build a school for girls in her community. It’s the educational journey of one that altered the destiny
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The fractals at the heart of African designs
'I am a mathematician, and I would like to stand on your roof.' That is how Ron Eglash greeted many African families he met while researching the fractal patterns he’d noticed in villages across the continent.
The link between unemployment and terrorism
For the young and unemployed in the world's big cities, dreams of opportunity and wealth do come true -- but too often because they're heavily recruited by terrorist groups and other violent organizations. Human rights advocate Mohamed Ali draws on stories from his native Mogadishu to make a powerful case for innovation incubators for our cities' young and
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Architecture at home in its community
When TED Fellow Xavier Vilalta was commissioned to create a multistory shopping mall in Addis Ababa, he panicked. Other centers represented everything he hated about contemporary architecture: wasteful, glass towers requiring tons of energy whose design had absolutely nothing to do with Africa. In this charming talk, Vilalta shows how he champions an
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Andrew Mwenda takes a new look at Africa
In this provocative talk, journalist Andrew Mwenda asks us to reframe the "African question" -- to look beyond the media's stories of poverty, civil war and helplessness and see the opportunities for creating wealth and happiness throughout the continent.
George Ayittey on Cheetahs vs. Hippos
Ghanaian economist George Ayittey unleashes a torrent of controlled anger toward corrupt leaders in Africa -- and calls on the “Cheetah generation” to take back the continent.
Want to help Africa? Do business here
We know the negative images of Africa -- famine and disease, conflict and corruption. But, says Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, there's another, less-told story happening in many African nations: one of reform, economic growth and business opportunity.
Neil Turok makes his TED Prize wish
Accepting his 2008 TED Prize, physicist Neil Turok speaks out for talented young Africans starved of opportunity: by unlocking and nurturing the continent's creative potential, we can create a change in Africa's future.
Action for Africa
Musician and activist Bono accepts the 2005 TED Prize with a riveting talk, arguing that aid to Africa isn't just another celebrity cause; it's a global emergency.
An interview with the founders of Black Lives Matter
Born out of a social media post, the Black Lives Matter movement has sparked discussion about race and inequality across the world. In this spirited conversation with Mia Birdsong, the movement's three founders share what they've learned about leadership and what provides them with hope and inspiration in the face of painful realities. Their advice on how to
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Chris Abani tells stories of people: People standing up to soldiers. People being compassionate. People being human and reclaiming their humanity. It's "ubuntu," he says: the only way for me to be human is for you to reflect my humanity back at me.
Louise Leakey digs for humanity's origins
Louise Leakey asks, "Who are we?" The question takes her to the Rift Valley in Eastern Africa, where she digs for the evolutionary origins of humankind -- and suggests a stunning new vision of our competing ancestors.
Life lessons from big cats
Beverly + Dereck Joubert live in the bush, filming and photographing lions and leopards in their natural habitat. With stunning footage (some never before seen), they discuss their personal relationships with these majestic animals -- and their quest to save the big cats from human threats.
Selling condoms in the Congo
HIV is a serious problem in the DR Congo, and aid agencies have flooded the country with free and cheap condoms. But few people are using them. Why? "Reformed marketer" Amy Lockwood offers a surprising answer that upends a traditional model of philanthropy. (Some NSFW images.)
Zeresenay Alemseged looks for humanity's roots
Paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged looks for the roots of humanity in Ethiopia's badlands. Here he talks about finding the oldest skeleton of a humanoid child -- and how Africa holds the clues to our humanity.
A third way to think about aid
The debate over foreign aid often pits those who mistrust "charity" against those who mistrust reliance on the markets. Jacqueline Novogratz proposes a middle way she calls patient capital, with promising examples of entrepreneurial innovation driving social change.
Josh Silver demos adjustable liquid-filled eyeglasses
Josh Silver delivers his brilliantly simple solution for correcting vision at the lowest cost possible -- adjustable, liquid-filled lenses. At TEDGlobal 2009, he demos his affordable eyeglasses and reveals his global plan to distribute them to a billion people in need by 2020.
Ernest Madu on world-class health care
Dr. Ernest Madu runs the Heart Institute of the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica, where he proves that -- with careful design, smart technical choices, and a true desire to serve -- it's possible to offer world-class healthcare in the developing world.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on aid versus trade
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria, sums up four days of intense discussion on aid versus trade on the closing day of TEDGlobal 2007, and shares a personal story explaining her own commitment to this cause.
Why I am an HIV/AIDS activist
For the last eight years, pop singer Annie Lennox has devoted the majority of her time to her SING campaign, raising awareness and money to combat HIV/AIDS. She shares the experiences that have inspired her, from working with Nelson Mandela to meeting a little African girl in a desperate situation.
Filming democracy in Ghana
Jarreth Merz, a Swiss-Ghanaian filmmaker, came to Ghana in 2008 to film the national elections. What he saw there taught him new lessons about democracy -- and about himself.
Chris Abani on the stories of Africa
In this deeply personal talk, Nigerian writer Chris Abani says that “what we know about how to be who we are” comes from stories. He searches for the heart of Africa through its poems and narrative, including his own.
The path to ending ethnic conflicts
Civil wars and ethnic conflicts have brought the world incredible suffering, but Stefan Wolff's figures show that, in the last 20 years, their number has steadily decreased. He extracts critical lessons from Northern Ireland, Liberia, Timor and more to show that leadership, diplomacy and institutional design are our three most effective weapons in waging peace.
Jacqueline Novogratz on patient capitalism
Jacqueline Novogratz shares stories of how "patient capital" can bring sustainable jobs, goods, services -- and dignity -- to the world's poorest.
Hector Ruiz on connecting the world
Hector Ruiz, the executive chair of AMD, wants to give Internet access to everyone. In this talk, he shares his extraordinary life story and describes AMD's 50x15 initiative that calls for connecting 50 percent of the world by 2015.
Kristen Ashburn's photos of AIDS
In this moving talk, documentary photographer Kristen Ashburn shares unforgettable images of the human impact of AIDS in Africa.
Franco Sacchi tours Nigeria's booming Nollywood
Zambia-born filmmaker Franco Sacchi tours us through Nollywood, Nigeria's booming film industry (the world's 3rd largest). Guerrilla filmmaking and brilliance under pressure from crews that can shoot a full-length feature in a week.
Jacqueline Novogratz invests in Africa's own solutions
Jacqueline Novogratz applauds the world's heightened interest in Africa and poverty, but argues persuasively for a new approach.
Demand a fair trade cell phone
Your mobile phone, computer and game console have a bloody past — tied to tantalum mining, which funds the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Drawing on his personal story, activist and refugee Bandi Mbubi gives a stirring call to action. (Filmed at TEDxExeter.)
Euvin Naidoo on investing in Africa
South African investment banker Euvin Naidoo explains why investing in Africa can make great business sense.
Why I speak up about living with epilepsy
Once homebound by epilepsy, mental health advocate Sitawa Wafula found her strength in writing about it. Now, she advocates for others who are yet to find their voices, cutting through stigma and exclusion to talk about what it's like to live with the condition.
A young poet tells the story of Darfur
Emtithal "Emi" Mahmoud writes poetry of resilience, confronting her experience of escaping the genocide in Darfur in verse. She shares two stirring original poems about refugees, family, joy and sorrow, asking, "Will you witness me?"
Joseph Lekuton tells a parable for Kenya
Joseph Lekuton, a member of parliament in Kenya, starts with the story of his remarkable education, then offers a parable of how Africa can grow. His message of hope has never been more relevant.
Newton Aduaka tells the story of Ezra
Filmmaker Newton Aduaka shows clips from his powerful, lyrical feature film "Ezra," about a child soldier in Sierra Leone.
Corneille Ewango is a hero of the Congo forest
Botanist Corneille Ewango talks about his work at the Okapi Faunal Reserve in the Congo Basin -- and his heroic work protecting it from poachers, miners and raging civil wars.
Global priorities bigger than climate change
Given $50 billion to spend, which would you solve first, AIDS or global warming? Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg comes up with surprising answers.
Patrick Awuah on educating leaders
Patrick Awuah makes the case that a liberal arts education is critical to forming true leaders.
A visual history of social dance in 25 moves
Why do we dance? African-American social dances started as a way for enslaved Africans to keep cultural traditions alive and retain a sense of inner freedom. They remain an affirmation of identity and independence. In this electric demonstration, packed with live performances, choreographer, educator and TED Fellow Camille A. Brown explores what happens when
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The real harm of the global arms trade
In some parts of the world, it's easier to get an automatic rifle than a glass of clean drinking water. Is this just the way it is? Samantha Nutt, doctor and founder of the international humanitarian organization War Child, explores the global arms trade — and suggests a bold, common sense solution for ending the cycle of violence. "War is ours," she says. "We buy it,
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How the US should use its superpower status
Americanization and globalization have basically been the same thing for the last several generations. But the US's view of the world — and the world's view of the US — is changing. In a fast-paced tour of the current state of international politics, Ian Bremmer discusses the challenges of a world where no single country or alliance can meet the challenges of global
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Marisa Fick-Jordan shares the wonder of Zulu wire art
In this short, image-packed talk, Marisa Fick-Jordan talks about how a village of traditional Zulu wire weavers built a worldwide market for their dazzling work.
Erik Hersman on reporting crisis via texting
At TEDU 2009, Erik Hersman presents the remarkable story of Ushahidi, a GoogleMap mashup that allowed Kenyans to report and track violence via cell phone texts following the 2008 elections, and has evolved to continue saving lives in other countries.
How I turned a deadly plant into a thriving business
The water hyacinth may look like a harmless, even beautiful flowering plant — but it's actually an invasive aquatic weed that clogs waterways, stopping trade, interrupting schooling and disrupting everyday life. In this scourge, green entrepreneur Achenyo Idachaba saw opportunity. Follow her journey as she turns weeds into woven wonders.
Ory Okolloh on becoming an activist
Ory Okolloh tells the story of her life and her family -- and how she came to do her heroic work reporting on the doings of Kenya's parliament.
3 reasons why we can win the fight against poverty
Half of the world's poorest people have something in common: they're small farmers. In this eye-opening talk, activist Andrew Youn shows how his group, One Acre Fund, is helping these farmers lift themselves out of poverty by delivering to them life-sustaining farm services that are already in use all over the world. Enter this talk believing we'll never be able to
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How poachers became caretakers
In his home of Namibia, John Kasaona is working on an innovative way to protect endangered animal species: giving nearby villagers (including former poachers) responsibility for caring for the animals. And it's working.
How we'll fight the next deadly virus
When Ebola broke out in March 2014, Pardis Sabeti and her team got to work sequencing the virus's genome, learning how it mutated and spread. Sabeti immediately released her research online, so virus trackers and scientists from around the world could join in the urgent fight. In this talk, she shows how open cooperation was key to halting the virus ... and to
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Turning dunes into architecture
Architecture student Magnus Larsson details his bold plan to transform the harsh Sahara desert using bacteria and a surprising construction material: the sand itself.
A few ways to fix a government
Charity Wayua put her skills as a cancer researcher to use on an unlikely patient: the government of her native Kenya. She shares how she helped her government drastically improve its process for opening up new businesses, a crucial part of economic health and growth, leading to new investments and a World Bank recognition as a top reformer.
A smarter, more precise way to think about public health
Sue Desmond-Hellmann is using precision public health — an approach that incorporates big data, consumer monitoring, gene sequencing and other innovative tools — to solve the world's most difficult medical problems. It's already helped cut HIV transmission from mothers to babies by nearly half in sub-Saharan Africa, and now it's being used to address alarming infant
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Mothers helping mothers fight HIV
In sub-Saharan Africa, HIV infections are more prevalent and doctors scarcer than anywhere else in the world. With a lack of medical professionals, Mitchell Besser enlisted the help of his patients to create mothers2mothers -- an extraordinary network of HIV-positive women whose support for each other is changing and saving lives.
There's no shame in taking care of your mental health
When stress got to be too much for TED Fellow Sangu Delle, he had to confront his own deep prejudice: that men shouldn't take care of their mental health. In a personal talk, Delle shares how he learned to handle anxiety in a society that's uncomfortable with emotions. As he says: "Being honest about how we feel doesn't make us weak — it makes us human."